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Meet the 22-Year-Old CEO Who Cold Called Boone Pickens for a Month Straight

Julia La Roche, Business Insider
Boone T. Pickens
Getty Images

Most 20-year-olds wouldn't have the nerve to cold call billionaire energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens once. But when Joseph Maddalone was that age, he called Picken's office everyday for 30 days until he finally got an answer.

"I love cold calling. It's the best thing in the world," Maddalone told Business Insider admitting that it's not an easy task.

"If cold calling was easy everyone would do it."

Maddalone, 22, was a college sophomore hanging out in his dorm room at the University of Scranton watching television when a commercial of Pickens aired. That's when the idea popped into his head.

"I called his office and said I interned at UBS, I have a passion for energy and I'd really like to come down and intern for you guys."

He didn't receive an immediate response, so he continued calling the office everyday and still didn't hear anything. A month later, Pickens' chief of staff reached out to the college student and said they appreciated his interest but didn't have an opening for an internship.

A few hours later, the persistent Maddalone received another phone call with a new proposition from Pickens' chief of staff. If he could get a hundred people to stand outside of ABC's "Good Morning America" studio in Times Square prior to the 2008 election to help promote the Picken's Plan they would talk to him about an internship.

Determined to earn that internship, Maddalone boarded a Greyhound bus from Pennsylvania to New York and rallied friends and relatives to stand with him outside of ABC's studio.

He was successful. Pickens himself called him shortly after to offer him a six week internship at his Dallas-based BP Capital.

Pickens, who Maddalone said taught him to live everyday like it's the last, is now one of his role models.

"He's one of those people that have taken a chance on me."

A few years later, Maddalone, a self-described "news junkie" who begins his day at 4:45 a.m. and fills it with meetings and networking events, now serves as the chief executive officer of his namesake recruiting firm Maddalone Global Strategies.

"My best skill is my ability to network, so recruiting seemed to be a natural fit," he said.

His business focuses on recruiting young professionals in finance and technology fields.

"It's a bridge between the Wall Street and technology crowd," he explained. "I'm kind of like a sports agent for people who have followed me in my brief, 22-year-old career."

To help aid the connecting process, the entrepreneur also organizes conferences for young professionals.

Here's how he started that venture. Last year, he cold called media giant Thompson Reuters' public relations department about hosting a conference. Once again, he didn't hear back.

That didn't deter him though. He emailed the chief executive of Thomson Reuters and pitched his idea to host a young professionals conference.

"He emailed me back — liked my idea — and invited me to pitch it to him on Thanksgiving Eve," he told Business Insider.

As a result of his efforts, Maddalone has hosted two conferences at Thomson Reuters' New York headquarters — one for young professionals and another with Pickens.

The initial idea to host his own conferences started when he was an intern at UBS at the age of 18.

His internship at the Swiss bank entailed menial tasks such as stuffing marketing envelopes for a week. He said he held that position because he wasn't from a "target school."

"You don't have to go to a target school to work at the companies," he said. "You really have to separate yourself."

That's what he tried to do when it came to executing those menial office tasks such as filling envelopes.

"I was so quick that everyone in the office wanted me to send out their letters," he said. "I would finish stuffing one person's packet and I'd go meet this guy. I got a reputation doing menial tasks as a way to meet people."

While at UBS, he discovered his passion for networking. He later attended a "Future of Finance Conference" and realized that he was literally the only person under the age of 30 there.

"So I wanted to host my own conference that would give young professionals a seat at the table," he said.

He's even invited hedge fund behemoth Bridgewater Associates executives to speak at one of his conferences.

Bridgewater said it sounded "enterprising," Maddalone recounted.

Maddalone, a Long Island native, graduated from the University of Scranton in three years. Following graduation, he went to work at Ray Dalio's Bridgewater.

He didn't stay very long.

"I didn't feel like I was put in the right position to succeed there — I have an entrepreneurial bug," he said.

That's when he decided to go off on his own and start his own recruiting firm. He said he wasn't worried about it either.

"It was definitely like holy sh-t," he said. "There's that holy sh-t moment, but you can't let it consume you. You have to keep going forward and you can't really think about it."

He's not even nervous about the possibility of failure.

"My response is 'If I don't think I can do it, what's going to make you think that I can?'"

Again, this goes back to the idea of living every day as if it was truly the last.

His mother was diagnosed with cancer and died six weeks later and it had a defining influence on how he lives his life.

"I actually believe it — you should really live your life like there's no tomorrow."

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

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